The formation of amyloid aggregates is a feature of most, if not all, polypeptide chains. In vivo modelling of this process has been undertaken in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster with remarkable success. Models of both neurological and systemic amyloid diseases have been generated and have informed our understanding of disease pathogenesis in two main ways. First, the toxic amyloid species have been at least partially characterized, for example in the case of the Aβ (amyloid β-peptide) associated with Alzheimer's disease. Secondly, the genetic underpinning of model disease-linked phenotypes has been characterized for a number of neurodegenerative disorders. The current challenge is to integrate our understanding of disease-linked processes in the fly with our growing knowledge of human disease, for the benefit of patients.
- Drosophila disease model
- motor neuron
- systemic amyloidosis
- toxic oligomer
- © The Authors Journal compilation © 2014 Biochemical Society